Behind the Scenes Heroes: The Impactful Role of Public Safety Dispatchers

Every year, the second week of April marks National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (NPSTW), a time dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the dedication, service and sacrifices of public safety telecommunicators. The staff of the Emergency Communications Center (ECC) within the Syracuse University Department of Public Safety (DPS) serve as a prime example of dedication, skill and the vital importance of these individuals. Each year, the dispatchers within the ECC manage nearly 60,000 calls, serving as the first point of contact for the campus community in times of crisis and need.

The ECC team is comprised of highly trained personnel adept at handling a wide range of situations with calmness and efficiency. Whether it’s handling emergency calls, coordinating with DPS officers or providing crucial information during critical incidents, these dispatchers are always ready to offer their support.

“The ECC is the problem-solving center of this campus. Whether it comes to lockouts, dead car batteries or something more serious, we can help or get a hold of the staff who can help solve the problem,” says Michael Wilson, public safety dispatcher. “We even assist our Orange family who study abroad in Florence and London!”

Their work is not just about answering calls; it’s about ensuring the safety and security of students, faculty and staff on campus. They operate 24/7, 365 days a year, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to the campus community.

Mateo Tarrats, emergency communications center manager, believes the genuine care of the ECC staff is what makes them special, “Every single person that works on this staff is here because they care about the work they do. This is not an easy occupation. People gravitate towards this kind of work because they genuinely care about the well-being of others.”

The ability to manage tens of thousands of calls per year is not just a testament to their individual skills but also to their collective effort and dedication towards creating a safe and responsive campus environment.

“The most rewarding aspect is knowing every call you are going to be helping someone,” says Shannon Hogue, public safety dispatcher. “We go out of our way to find answers if we do not know them already.”

The ECC staff is always looking to help the campus community with the best service possible. NPSTW serves as a necessary reminder of all the work that happens behind the scenes. The DPS team is always available: Call us 24/7, 365 days a year at 315.443.2224. You can also reach us by dialing #78 (#SU) from your cell phone, dialing 711 from a campus landline or by utilizing the Orange Safe app.